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Enid mayor receives award from newspaper, community groups

January 7, 2019

ENID, Okla. (AP) — There’s one phrase in Enid that everyone’s heard at least once during the last eight years, and it comes from a man with deep Oklahoma and Enid roots.

“It’s a great day in Enid, Oklahoma.”

Mayor Bill Shewey has been named one of three 2018 Pillar of the Plains honorees. The others are Cheri Ezzell and Michael Wright. The Enid News & Eagle, along with community partners, created the Pillar of the Plains in 2003 to honor local people who have been active in the community, improved the quality of life and made Enid a better place. One of the three honorees will be named Pillar of the Plains at a reception at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 10 in the Nick Benson Room on the second floor of Convention Hall in Central National Bank Center.

“It’s very humbling, I appreciate the honor and glad to be one of the participants,” Shewey told the Enid News & Eagle .

Shewey’s Enid roots come from his mother, who he said lived here in the 1930s across the street from McKinley Elementary School. She graduated Enid High School, got a degree from Phillips University and came back as a teacher at McKinley and other schools.

It took Shewey a little while to make his way to Enid, however. But once he did, he forged a life for himself and his family here. He was born in Orienta, graduated from Fairview High School and attended the University of Tulsa on a football scholarship. He graduated in 1964 with a degree in mathematics and education and joined First National Bank of Tulsa.

After working there 14 years, Shewey moved to Enid to join Central National Bank as vice president in 1978. In the last 40 years in Enid, Shewey has compiled an impressive resume of involvement and achievements.

Out of those, Shewey said his top and most impactful one has been working on the Kaw Lake water pipeline project.

“It always will be (No. 1) in Northwest Oklahoma. We’re in our third phase of four phases and it’s a big deal. It’s a lot of money, but it’s going to stretch out over 35-40 years, and the people of Enid supported it and we’ve had a lot of meetings to figure out how to get that water uphill 70 miles, but that’s the No. 1 item,” Shewey said.

He said he’s enjoyed his time as mayor, and appreciates the support from those around him.

“I enjoyed it. I’ve got about four and a half more months to go and I’ve enjoyed it. The Central National Bank gave me the time to work on different functions. My family supported me being the mayor and they’ve also supported me in a lot of other functions I’ve been involved in,” Shewey said.

Along with his mayor role, Shewey said he’s on various committees, acting as the chair on some, and just one voice from the city on the others.

Some of those include being chair of Vance Development Authority, member of Enid Regional Development Alliance, member of Cherokee Strip Community Foundation, member of Community Development Support Association, member of Enid Public School Foundation, member of Enid Higher Education Council and being on Joint Industrial Foundation.

“I enjoy it ... I know a little bit about a lot in Enid, Oklahoma. And I enjoy that,” Shewey said.

He’s also been involved extensively with Vance Air Force Base and the military.

Some of those contributions and achievements include being one of the original Vance Partners in the Sky, an honorary commander of the base, an honorary commander for the 71st Operations Group, honorary commander of the War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, multiple state Air Force Association service awards and the Medal of Merit. He also served on the AETC Commander’s Civic Group, leading fundraising efforts and helping to organize an effective base protection program as base realignment and closure rounds were approaching in the 1990se.

Shewey also is a past chairman of Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce, a graduate of the first Leadership Greater Enid class, long-time member of Enid Lions Club, where he was honored as Lion of the Year, a past president of Western Oklahoma Bankers Association, and served as chairman of the board for St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, along with other civic organizations.

He’s also served on the finance committee at First United Methodist Church, served as treasurer for the Enid District of United Methodist Churches, and been active on the Campfire Council of the Plains for 12 years.

Rounding out some of his other involvement, Shewey has served as board chair for the Oklahoma Municipal League, on the OML board of directors for District 7, on the Mayor’s Council of Oklahoma, on the Congress of Mayors of Oklahoma and on the Northwest Oklahoma Water Action Committee. He’s been previously named Mayor of the Year for cities more than 5,000 in population, and was named 2018 Citizen of the Year by Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce.

Enid Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Job Blankenship spoke to Shewey’s contributions to the city, Vance Air Force Base and more. He said Shewey being named an honoree is much deserved, that he’s worthy of the recognition and that Shewey has made countless lifelong contributions to Enid.

“We’ve seen a lot of successes over the last seven or eight years, and he’s certainly had a hand in seeing those successes to fruition,” Blankenship said. “What you see is what you get from Bill. I think what people see, they really like. Bill’s very genuine and you don’t have to guess where he stands on a topic, he’s pretty direct, and I think that’s been a great characteristic, very characteristic for his leadership.”

Shewey doesn’t have any plans set in stone yet for when his time as mayor expires, but one thing’s for certain, and that’s that the community will keep hearing his name pop up in the future.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of things because I’m the mayor, but I was involved before. My family’s involved in various activities in Enid and we enjoy living in Enid,” Shewey said.

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Information from: Enid News & Eagle, http://www.enidnews.com

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